At 8am on Thursday 22nd of August, 14 chemists (including undergraduates, postgraduates, lecturers and professors) from the School of Chemistry set off from the Joseph Black Building, King's Buildings to cycle to Strontian.
They stopped off overnight at Loch Tay and made it into Strontian the next day.
On Saturday 24th of August there was a family activity day to celebrate the School of Chemistry tercentenary and the discovery of strontium, run in collaboration with Visit Scotland, Lochaber Geopark and the Ardnamurchan High School. The day started with tours up at the old lead mines where the element strontium was first discovered. Jim Blair from Lochaber Geoparks lead the tours and over 150 people visited the mines.
The tours proved so popular that there are plans to run the tours again next August.
At 1pm in the Ardnamurchan High School there was the opportunity to learn about solar power and new advances in solar research with the Solar Spark Team lead by Dr Neil Robertson. After tea and coffee, Prof Colin Pulham from the School of Chemistry gave an exciting demonstration lecture highlighting how important chemistry is in tackling current and future world challenges.
The chemistry teacher from Ardnamurchan High School, Thomas Lasser then ran an activity class on flame tests including, of course, the flame test for strontium which produces a beautiful red colour.
The final lecture of the day came from Andrew Bissell, founder of Sunamp Ltd who told the audience about how strontium is used in heat storage batteries ??? Sunamp Ltd had just been granted a patent for this the day before! The School of Chemistry presented the High School with a Beever model of Strontianite (SrCO3) to thank them for hosting the events. The model is now on display in the chemistry classroom.
The celebrations were rounded off in style with a fantastic ceilidh in the evening, organised by Nikki Robertson and a bar provided by Sunart Community Company.
The day was a great success, with over 400 people participating in the activities and coming from the local community, Edinburgh and further afield.
The very next day, our team of cyclists got back on their bikes at 6am to start their cycle home. They ended the cycle on the Monday at the Joseph Black Building, University of Glasgow, a very fitting 300 mile round trip!